By Rider University Graduate Assistant, Scott Sylvester
Originally Published September 13, 2022
For Rider students, busy schedules, classes, lack of transportation and living away from home may create challenges when it comes to voting, but don’t let that stop you! Midterm elections are coming up on Nov. 8 and performing your civic duty has become more important than ever.
Generation Z makes up approximately 10% of eligible voters. However, less than half of people aged 18-24 are registered to vote, and even less will show up at the polls. Your voice is important and needs to be heard.
This November won’t have a presidential election, but midterms are still extremely important. This year, all 50 states will elect representatives. 36 states will elect governors and 34 states will elect senators along with a wide variety of local and state offices. The Democrats currently have a slight lead with 50 seats in the Senate — a lead because Vice President Kamala Harris acts as the tie-breaker — and also hold a lead in the House of Representatives at 220-211 (Currently there are 4 vacancies due to resignations and deaths).
Likewise, it’s important to remember that seats in local school boards are also up for grabs. These positions have become significant due to their power in determining what gets taught in local K-12 schools and what may be prohibited.
For New Jersey, the deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct.18. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Nov. 1, while the deadline to mail your ballot is Election Day, on Nov. 8.
When it comes to defending our environment, women’s rights or other issues on the ballot that you are passionate about, one of the greatest impacts you can have as a young person is using your vote. You can educate yourself by using sites like League of Conservation Voters (lcv.org) and Inside Climate News (insideclimatenews.org) to learn about the issues and solutions.
You’ll also need to register to vote if you haven’t already. You can vote in your home state by absentee ballot or you can register to vote in New Jersey, but you can’t do both. Go to vote.org to find information on registration, deadlines and absentee voting.
It’s important to make time in your calendar and remind yourself when it’s time to vote. Don’t wait until the last minute or you may not be able to make it to the polls.
In order to remain eco-friendly on Election Day, carpool to the polls. Again, set this up early, remind yourself and your friends of the plan to get out your vote. If you want to take it a step further, volunteers are always needed at the local polling locations!
Lastly, politics can be confusing. Use bipartisan tools like factcheck.org, which “monitors the factual accuracy of political ads, debates, interviews, speeches and news releases.” It’s a great resource to learn more about the accuracy of political statements and increase your understanding of elections.